I can't write about romance—not to you.
Once, we happened upon each other
in a restaurant, both intending to eat alone.
In that half-light, you muttered
that your parents are better people
than you could ever hope to be.
We took separate checks, and you left
while I was in the bathroom.
It’s wrong to mention love, anyways.
If I collected our halting conversations
in my palms, they would catch
a stray breeze and fly out the window
or fall between my desk and the wall.
Exposing them to light might destroy
All I can write
is the definitive poem about
the splinter in your index finger.
I tried to extract it and you winced.
Does it hurt? I expected you to pull away.
Yes. But keep going. You laid
your hands in mine.
I don’t know about chemistry,
but I know something about need,
about a shard worming itself deeper,
and not having a spare hand
to halt its progress to the vein.
Our youth wants belly laughs
ringing over glassy ponds,
stripping down to our skin
and splashing into the dazzle,
but maybe it’s enough
to eat in silence, warmed
by the tiny miracle of trusting
someone else’s steadiness.